This marks the first week of the Highlander Mulligans article. As I mentioned in my article about mulliganing in Highlander that you can find here I am going to start posting a few mulligans from the weekly Monday Highlander tournament to discuss. I’m going to post this disclaimer at the beginning of every article but since not every player submits their deck list and because some players are consistently changing their lists I cannot guarantee that the lists I post with each mulligan will directly match what the player was playing that day. Nonetheless the list should give you an idea of what kind of things the deck is trying to do.
Let’s start with a mulligan from round 3. You are playing a GW midrange list and you are on the draw against 4 colour pod this is your first 6 card hand your opponent kept their first 6.
This hand is close. Obviously the deck likes having early mana dorks and it curves into a reasonable play of Lotus cobra into Pridemage. This looks reasonable but it’s important to remember what we’re playing against. Pod is a deck that is looking to combo kill us and will almost always have mana dorks and creatures of their own. There are two ways that we can about trying to combat this. One is to go faster than the pod deck and the other is to interact with hate cards to slow them down. Since we are on the draw going faster seems tough though this hand does present a good body early. My concern is that even assuming we draw the land for the Sigarda in our hand that we might just die. Pridemage offers some buffering against this but in order to feel really safe I would much rather see one of the white removal spells or one of more disruptive hate bears in our hand. What’s more is that since we need green mana on turn 1 we are often to going to be unable to save the fetch land to combo with our Lotus Cobra. As I said at the outset I think this hand is close but ultimately I don’t believe that this hand on it’s own is enough to win the game and we are relying on the top of our deck being good to us in order to win. I would mulligan this hand.
You are playing the BUG Tempo list against GB midrange. You are on the draw and your opponent kept their 7.
This hand is very good in certain situations. The power to go Deathrite Shaman into Wasteland your opponent’s first land plus play green Wheel Liberator or to possibly play a turn 2 Liliana is obviously very high. The only issue with this hand is that it is severely lacking a way to protect any of it threats. If our opponent has a good opener and the Wasteland plus Liberator play doesn’t just bury them we could be in some trouble. What’s more this hand also goes a bit against the typical game plan that Tempo decks have in this match up. Generally the Tempo deck is looking to establish early pressure and then use the fact that Green Black plays at largely sorcery speed to punish them with counter spells. With all that being said I believe that this hand is still a keep; Your opponent kept 7 and this match up can sometimes descend into an attrition oriented game. This hand is set up to play that attrition game quite well as it contains one of our few Planeswalkers and enough disruption to buy some time to find more interaction. Are times that this hand loses? Absolutely, however I believe that since your resources are often stretched thin in this match up you are more inclined to keep a 7 so long as it has a serviceable proactive game plan.
You are playing this 4 Colour Aristocrats list against 4 Colour Pod. It’s game 3 and you are on the play, your opponent kept their 7 card hand, and this is your first 6 card hand.
Let’s begin this discussion by examining how the Aristocrats versus 4 Colour Pod match up usually plays out. Typically both players develop creatures in the early game and the board can get stalled out. Both decks have their own solutions to board stalls, Pod looks to assemble it’s Kiki-jiki combo where Aristocrats will usually either to take to the air to chip in damage or will look to assemble some kind of sacrifice outlet plus Blood Artist effect to drain the opponent out without ever attacking. In general the onus is on Aristocrats to find a way to stop Pod from killing it as the combo clock is usually faster. With all that in mind let’s look at this hand. This hand has some of the pieces that you’re looking for as an Aristocrats player in the form of Tidehollow Sculler and Self Spirit. The Spirit can pressure the Pod player’s life total and Sculler can hopefully put them on the back foot. Were these cards supported by other reasonably cards this hand would certainly be a reasonable keep. I believe, however, that this hand is a mulligan due to Underdiscovered Paradise. The problem with the Paradise is that it sets so much of your development back and really stymies your ability to curve up to some of your bigger plays. Add that on to the fact that Selfless Spirit is not enough on it’s own to effectively back up the disruption from Tidehollow Sculler and you have, in my mind, enough reasons to go look at a second 6 for a better hand.
You’re playing this 4 Colour Pod list against GW midrange. It is game 3 and you are on the play. Your opponent mulliganed to first 6 and you see this hand as your first 6.
While this hand does not combo particularly quickly it does have filtration to help it get there as soon as possible. Nahiri really holds this hand together in many ways. She is a threat can be deployed on turn three that will immediately accrue some value. Additionally she allows you to stem the bleeding if the GW player has had a particularly vicious opening. You’re taking a bit of risk in hoping that you’re going to hit 6 mana to play Woodland Bellower but Pod has a lot of mana sources in it and basically any other card you draw is going to be castable. At least in this match up with hand is definitely a keep. What’s interesting to look at is how this hand would play against a more disruptive deck. If you thought there was a good chance that your elf was going to die on turn 1 or that you might get a discard spell cast against you all of a sudden this hand begins to look a lot more dicey. Odds are you still keep it because you’re top decks are good and at least Sylvan Caraytid provides a mana ramp source that is fairly hard to interact with. Pat Berdusco, the person who played this deck to a 5-0 finish on Monday, rated this hand a 7.8/10. He explained that it’s pretty good but that there are enough ways that it can go wrong that hold it back from being an 8.
That’s it for this week! If you have any thought about the mulligans or the article series in general please feel free to tweet them to me at @Canhighlander. Thanks for reading as always and I’ll be back next week with more mulligans!